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    If you ride public transit in Toronto with some degree of regularity, you've likely seen (and maybe even wondered about) the single raised seat that's sometimes found on certain buses.

    Covered in red fabric, it looks like any other non-priority seat on the bus, except slightly higher and flanked by yellow bars that look like handles or perhaps uncomfortable armrests.

    Kids are fans of the "queen seat," as some call it, but many adults find its structure undesirable.

    "For anyone under 5'5", your legs dangle as if you are sitting in a baby's high chair. For anyone with junk in their trunk, it's a challenge to physically fit in the seat, or your parts spill over the arm rests," tweeted local transit user Lisa Cavicchia yesterday. "The location and height also give it a crown-like feel."

    Royal as it may look, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green confirms that "this prestigious throne does not entitle the occupant to reign supreme over all others on the bus… or give them the ability to control dragons."


    The reason they exist, as it turns out, is more of a design quirk than a feature, found only on the oldest buses in the TTC's fleet: The Orion VII.

    "This particular bus has an extremely tall engine and there is an access hatch in this location," says Green. "Instead of losing this space, it was made useful by installing a seat on the raised cover of the hatch."

    "Since the seat was quite high, grab rails were included to assist with getting in and out of the seat," he adds, "and also to prevent passengers from sliding out of the raised seat and onto the lap of an unsuspecting neighbour."

    Sadly for those who love to commute in the style of Daenerys Targaryen, these special seats are also just about extinct.

    "There are about 10 of these left in our fleet operating out of Eglinton and Birchmount divisions (Scarborough) and are scheduled to be retired in the next week or two," explains Green of the Orion VII buses.

    So enjoy them well you can—or celebrate the fact that you'll never get stuck on the high seat again after 2019.

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    The TTC has been making big changes, and while some of them are good, some of them are also bad, and making people very upset. 

    One of those is the notoriously glitchy rollout of PRESTO, which seems to come with new problems every day. 

    The latest decision to draw the ire of many is the phasing out of Metropasses, and now, tokens; the grimy, tiny, hard-to-find little coins that grant you access to the wonderful world of the TTC. 

    As a result, many organizations and groups have clapped back at the TTC, expressing their frustration with the change

    Now, more than a hundred concerned community members are attending a town hall style meeting with Metrolinx and the TTC. 

    These concerned citizens are advocating for changes to the new PRESTO tickets, which are effectively replacing TTC tokens. 

    Right now, one of the concerns is that these tickets will be available in fewer locations than tokens, particularly in the suburbs. 

    Here are the demands of the Fair Fare Coalition, which is one of the leading groups in this fight. 

    Make PRESTO tickets:

    • Widely available at convenient locations throughout the city
    • Affordable at current token rates, including student, senior, and low-income discounts
    • Able to be purchased in bulk at the discount rate
    • Without expiration dates
    • Available for purchase with cash, and not strictly requiring debit, credit, or internet access

    Furthermore, these advocates are asking that PRESTO cards be available for free, something that has long been called for since its introduction. 

    The meeting is set to take place next Tuesday evening, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Whether Metrolix and the TTC will listen to the group's demands, we'll have to wait and see. 

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    A Toronto woman with severe dairy allergies is speaking out this week after unknowingly consuming something with traces of milk in it at a vegan restaurant — and not just any vegan restaurant.

    Vittoria Rabito, a Ryerson University student, was eating at a restaurant in the area of Parkdale that a local event management group contentiously tried to rebrand as "Vegandale" earlier this year.

    Rabito herself is not a vegan, but considers vegan restaurants safe, as by definition they do not serve any animal products. The businesses that align themselves with Vegandale (there are seven right now, plus a pop-up) are furthermore known to be fiercely, militantly and outspokenly vegan.

    Thus, Rabito wasn't particularly worried about ingesting anything that could hurt her at the recently-opened Vegandale Brewery, which boasts the tagline "morality on tap."

    If it hadn't been for her EpiPen and some quick emergency responders, that assumption could have cost her her life.

    It’s been a blurry week🍂

    A post shared by Vittoria Rabito (@vittoriarabito) on

    VICE News reports that Rabito had taken one bite of a meatless "pulled pork taco" at Vegandale Brewery on November 9 when her lips started to tingle. Within minutes, her airway was starting to close and she was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.

    The student later told VICE that she'd only ever had to use her EpiPen once before, and that this was the worst reaction she'd ever had.

    A few weeks later, Vegandale Brewery confirmed to Rabito by email that one of the seasonings used for her taco came with a "product may contain traces of milk" warning.

    Neither her server, who Rabito says was told about her allergy at the onset, nor the restaurant was unaware of this before the incident as, according to VICE, "the seasoning arriving in unlabelled packaging."

    Rabito is okay, but this is a bad look for Vegandale.

    The business collective has already taken a lot of heat this year from Parkdale residents and activists who fear that "marginalized communities are being evicted to make room for privileged, inaccessible veganism."

    The company behind Vegandale (5700 Inc.) said in a statement that it takes food safety seriously, though some suppliers "may use animal-based ingredients in their production facilities when making other products."

    A kitchen manager at Vegandale Brewery itself told VICE that the situation was "unacceptable" and that the restaurant will be replacing its current, vegetarian spice supplier with one that is fully vegan.

    "I feel terrible for this young lady," commented one person on Twitter after hearing Rabito's story. "At the same time LOL to Vegandale — another sign they need to GTFO of Parkdale."

    "Vegandale... where 'morality's on tap' but no one know what's is in your food," joked someone else. "I guess Vegandale is only for ethical vegans and not folks who have real health aversions to animal products."

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    Snuggle season is no doubt in full effect, but if you're in the mood to get out here, events in Toronto today have lots in store with a new Christmas and night market. The Krampus Ball returns for a night of oddities and you can get free Japanese souffle pancakes. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    Krampus Ball (December 7 @ The Opera House)
    Don't pack away your Halloween costume just yet, as this annual Christmas funhouse party will see all types of strange creatures roaming about.
    Gumbo (December 7 @ SPiN Toronto)
    The best of Afrobeats and Soca intersects with Dancehall and all types of musical genres at Gumbo; a huge get down with the hottest beats ready to go.
    Foosball Tournament (December 7 @ Hale Coffee)
    Get your flickin' hand ready for a night of foosball with sixteen teams of two shooting shots among music, dancing, food and drinks.
    The Forgotten Rebels (December 7 @ Lee's Palace)
    From Hamilton comes the old school punk sound of The Forgotten Rebels that recall the Sex Pistols and Ramones rolled into one.
    You Better Work (December 7 @ Buddies in Bad Times)
    Get it, got it, good with a fabulous all-star lineup of kings and queens and fans of Drag Race slaying the floor and battling it out for lip-sync supremacy.
    Fuwa Fuwa Grand Opening (December 7-8 @ Fuwa Fuwa Japanese Pancakes)
    Fuwa Fuwa is opening a second location and celebrating with a two-day give-away of their raspberry chocolate lava souffle pancakes.
    The New Old Fashioned Night Market (December 7-9 @ Longboat Hall at The Great Hall)
    Local artists, musicians and performers are putting a twist on the classic market with works by Hatecopy, and performances by Dwayne Gretzky.
    Human Rights Film Festival (December 7-10 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
    A selection of films that explore human rights issues all over the world are screening alongside panels, talks and parties.
    King Winter Market (December 7-21 @ Serpentine Pavilion)
    Toronto's most unusual visiting structure is hosting a Christmas market with vendors, trees, festive activities and more all month long.
    Die Hard (December 7-23 @ Cinesphere)
    Sweaty Bruce Willis and terrorist Alan Rickman go at it among guns, violence and Christmas cheer in this action classic that's in the U.S. National Archives

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    This house is sleek, modern and has some hi-tech features that could entice any tech bro, including a snowmelt driveway, which is sure to come in handy any day now.40 parkview hill crescent torontoThe house is so minimalist that I thought this might be a new build for a moment. The open concept main floor is quite barren, but is bright thanks panoramic windows. 

    40 parkview hill crescent torontoAlthough they don’t offer much privacy at night…

    40 parkview hill crescent torontoThe kitchen is pristine with light cabinets, sparkling white counter tops and high-end appliances.  

    40 parkview hill crescent torontoThere’s over 4,100-square-feet of living space with roomy 10-foot ceilings. The home also comes equipped with heated bathroom and basement floors, Smart Home technology and other such luxuries.

    40 parkview hill crescent torontoThere are four large bedrooms each with their own en suite.

    40 parkview hill crescent torontoThe master bedroom is exceptionally spacious and has an en suite bathroom, as well as a walk-out balcony.40 parkview hill crescent torontoThe backyard is quite simple now, but is definitely big enough to put a pool in if one would be so inclined.40 parkview hill crescent toronto

    The Essentials
    Why it sold for what it did?

    This home basically tripled in price since it last sold in 2016, and other than the insane real estate market in Toronto, I have no idea why this house is sold for almost $3 million. Perhaps one redeeming quality is it’s close to the ravine.40 parkview hill crescent toronto

    Was it worth it?

    Definitely not. It’s not that it’s not a nicely done house, but if the most intriguing thing about it is the tech, the house is too basic to be worth this much. Also it’s on a corner lot with a bus stop in front of it... not really prime real estate now is it?40 parkview hill crescent toronto

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    Lot 40 Canadian whisky is partnering with Mahjong Bar on Dundas West to bring a new twist to old cocktails.To celebrate the launch we've teamed up with Lot 40 to give readers a chance to win a $100 gift card to Mahjong Bar. 

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    Toronto's beleaguered public transit system could get even messier than usual next month, according to TTC employees, when the city officially ditches its long-running monthly Metropass program.

    As usual, it all comes back to PRESTO and its notoriously faulty machines.

    The cashless fare payment system that will soon replace TTC Metropasses (and eventually tickets, tokens, day passes, debit, credit cards, cash, etc.) isn't exactly reliable just yet, as anyone who takes the subway regularly well knows.

    With an influx of new Presto users hitting the system on January 1, TTC workers are growing concerned about how how many riders will be delayed (or simply let into the subway for free) on account of malfunctioning machines.

    "Unfortunately, Presto is not ready," reads a December 4 letter from the union representing TTC workers to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, as quoted in the Toronto Star.

    "It is critical that Metrolinx, the TTC, and the Ontario government take immediate and urgent action to fix the Presto fare card system's failures to ensure a smooth transition of Metropass users to the Presto fare card system."

    Anonymous members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 who drive buses say in the letter that as many as 20 per cent of all fares aren't being paid on account of broken PRESTO machines. 

    They also state that it can take up to an hour for the card readers just to turn on once a driver starts his or her vehicle and that it can take sometimes take weeks for PRESTO to send a technician along to fix these faulty devices.

    Metrolinx, which is responsible for PRESTO, told the star that its fare payment system is ready for the switch — though that does seem curious, given that the TTC is currently removing all debit and credit card readers from streetcars over their tendency to break PRESTO machines.

    Whatever the case, we'd better hope that the union is wrong. 

    Roughly 40 per cent of all trips made on the TTC are currently paid for with a Metropass and some 200,000 customers are expected to switch over to PRESTO on January 1.

    Hopefully those fickle green readers can handle what's coming... but if history is any indication, don't get your hopes up.

    0 0

    A big week for locally-born artists who've hit it big continues this morning with the announcement of 2019's Grammy Award nominees.

    Toronto's very own international rap superstar, Drake, got a whopping 7 nods this time around, most of them for his work on Scorpion, the chart-topping double album he released in June.

    Drizzy is up for album of the year, record of the year, song of the year, and twice for both best rap performance and best rap song (but was notably omitted from the category of best rap album.)

    The songs "God's Plan" and "Nice for What" are individually nominated, as is Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode", which Drake was featured on.

    GTA native Shawn Mendes also had a huge year, which is reflected in his nominations for best pop vocal album and for song of the year ("In My Blood.")

    Toronto record producer Boi-1da, who produced such hits this year as Cardi B's "Be Careful" and "God's Plan" (among others), is also nominated for producer of the year, non-classical.

    Previous to this, he'd already been nominated for 8 Grammy Awards for his work with Rihanna, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and, of course, Drake.

    Cardi B, Childish Gambino, Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, H.E.R and Lady Gaga are all well-represented across multiple categories, but only one artist — Lamar — scored as many nominations as Drake did this year.

    Here's the full list of nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards, which will be televised live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 10.

    Album of the Year

    H.E.R. - H.E.R.
    Brandi Carlile - By the Way, I Forgive You
    Drake - Scorpion
    Various Artists - Black Panther: The Album
    Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
    Post Malone - Beerbongs & Bentleys
    Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy
    Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

    Record of the Year

    Cardi B - I Like It
    Brandi Carlile - The Joke
    Childish Gambino - This Is America
    Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper - Shallow
    Drake - God's Plan
    Kendrick Lamar & SZA - All the Stars
    Post Malone & 21 Savage - Rockstar
    Zedd & Maren Morris - The Middle

    Song of the Year

    Kendrick Lamar & SZA - All the Stars
    Ella Mai - Boo'd Up
    Drake - God's Plan
    Shawn Mendes - In My Blood
    Brandi Carlile - The Joke
    Zedd & Maren Morris - The Middle
    Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper - Shallow
    Childish Gambino - This Is America

    Best New Artist

    Chloe x Halle
    Luke Combs
    Greta Van Fleet
    Dua Lipa
    Margo Price
    Bebe Rexha
    Jorja Smith

    Best Pop Solo Performance

    Beck - Colors
    Camila Cabello - Havana (Live)
    Ariana Grande - God Is a Woman
    Lady Gaga - Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)
    Post Malone - Better Now

    Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

    Christina Aguilera ft. Demi Lovato - Fall In Line
    Backstreet Boys - Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
    Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper - Shallow
    Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B - Girls Like You
    Justin Timberlake ft. Chris Stapleton - Say Something
    Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey - The Middle

    Best Pop Vocal Album

    Camila Cabello - Camila
    Kelly Clarkson - Meaning of Life
    Ariana Grande - Sweetener
    Shawn Mendes - Shawn Mendes
    Pink - Beautiful Trauma
    Taylor Swift - Reputation

    Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

    Tony Bennett & Diana Krall - Love Is Here to Stay
    Willie Nelson - My Way
    Gregory Porter - Nat "King" Cole & Me
    Seal - Standards (Deluxe)
    Barbra Streisand - The Music... The Mem'ries... The Magic!

    Best Rap Performance

    Cardi B - Be Careful
    Drake - Nice for What
    Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake - King’s Dead
    Anderson .Paak - Bubblin
    Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk, & Swae Lee - Sicko Mode

    Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

    Christina Aguilera ft. Goldlink - Like I Do
    6LACK ft. J. Cole - Pretty Little Fears
    Childish Gambino - This Is America
    Kendrick Lamar & SZA - All the Stars
    Post Malone ft. 21 Savage - Rockstar

    Best Rap Song

    Drake - God’s Plan
    Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake - King’s Dead
    Eminem - Lucky You
    Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk, & Swae Lee - Sicko Mode
    Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar - Win

    Best Rap Album

    Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy
    Mac Miller- Swimming
    Nipsey Hussle - Victory Lap
    Pusha-T - Daytona
    Travis Scott - Astroworld

    Best Rock Performance

    Arctic Monkeys - Four Out of Five
    Chris Cornell - When Bad Does Good
    THE FEVER 333 - Made An America
    Greta Van Fleet - Highway Tune
    Halestorm - Uncomfortable

    Best Metal Performance

    Between the Buried and Me - Condemned to the Gallows
    Deafheaven - Honeycomb
    High on Fire - Electric Messiah
    Trivium - Betrayer
    Underoath - On My Teeth

    Best Rock Song

    Greta Van Fleet - Black Smoke Rising
    Twenty One Pilots - Jumpsuit
    Bring Me the Horizon - MANTRA
    St. Vincent - Masseduction
    Ghost - Rats

    Best Rock Album

    Alice in Chains - Rainier Fog
    Fall Out Boy - M A N I A
    Ghost - Prequelle
    Greta Van Fleet - From the Fires
    Weezer - Pacific Daydream

    Best Alternative Music Album

    Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
    Beck - Colors
    Björk - Utopia
    David Byrne - American Utopia
    St. Vincent - Masseduction

    Best R&B Performance

    Toni Braxton - Long As I Live
    The Carters - Summer
    Lalah Hathaway - Y O Y
    H.E.R. - Best Part [ft. Daniel Caesar]
    PJ Morton - First Began

    Best Traditional R&B Performance

    Leon Bridges - Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand
    Betty LaVette - Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight
    MAJOR. - Honest
    PJ Morton - How Deep Is Your Love [ft. Yebba]
    Charlie Wilson - Made for Love [ft. Lalah Hathaway]

    Best R&B Song

    Ella Mai - Boo’d Up
    Miguel - Come Through and Chill [ft. J. Cole and Salaam Remi]
    Childish Gambino - Feels Like Summer
    H.E.R. - Focus
    Toni Braxton - Long As I Live

    Best Urban Contemporary Album

    The Carters - Everything Is Love
    Chloe x Halle - The Kids Are Alright
    Chris Dave and the Drumhedz - Chris Dave and the Drumhedz
    Miguel - War & Leisure
    Meshell Ndegeocello - Ventriloquism

    Best R&B Album

    Toni Braxton - Sex & Cigarettes
    Leon Bridges - Good Thing
    Lalah Hathaway - Honestly
    H.E.R. - H.E.R.
    PJ Morton - Gumbo Unplugged (Live)

    Best Dance Recording

    Above & Beyond - Northern Soul [ft. Richard Bedford]
    Disclosure - Ultimatum [ft. Fatoumata Diawara]
    Fisher - Losing It
    Silk City & Dua Lipa - Electricity [ft. Diplo and Mark Ronson]
    Virtual Self - Ghost Voices

    Best Dance/Electronic Album

    Jon Hopkins - Singularity
    Justice - Woman
    Sofi Tukker - Treehouse
    SOPHIE - Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
    TOKiMONSTA - Lune Rouge

    Best Comedy Album

    Patton Oswalt - Annihilation
    Dave Chappelle - Equanimity & the Bird Revelation
    Jim Gaffigan - Noble Ape
    Fred Armisen - Standup for Drummers
    Chris Rock - Tamborine

    Best Remixed Recording

    Labrinth, Sia & Diplo present LSD - Audio (CID Remix Official Dance Remix)
    Charlie Puth - How Long (EDX's Dubai Skyline Remix)
    Gabriel & Dresden feat. Sub Teal - Only Road (Cosmic Gate Remix)
    Kygo, Justin Jesso - Stargazing [ft. Justin Jesso] (Kaskade Remix)
    HAIM - Walking Away (Mura Masa remix)

    Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media

    Call Me by Your Name
    Deadpool 2
    The Greatest Showman
    Lady Bird
    Stranger Things

    Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

    Ludwig Göransson - Black Panther
    Benjamin Wallfisch & Hans Zimmer - Blade Runner 2049
    Michael Giacchino - Coco
    Alexandre Desplat - The Shape of Water
    John Williams - Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Best Song Written for Visual Media

    Kendrick Lamar & SZA - All the Stars
    Sufjan Stevens - Mystery of Love
    Miguel - Remember Me [ft. Natalia Lafourcade]
    Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper - Shallow
    Keala Settle & the Greatest Showman Ensemble - This Is Me

    Best Recording Package

    Mitski - Be the Cowboy
    BTS - Love Yourself: Tear
    St. Vincent - Masseduction
    The Chairman - The Offering
    Foxhole - Well Kept Thing

    Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

    Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (Locked N' Loaded)
    The Decemberists - I’ll Be Your Girl
    Grateful Dead - Pacific Northwest '73-74': The Complete Recordings
    “Weird” Al Yankovic - Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of “Weird Al” Yankovic
    Sarah Dodds and Shauna Dodds - Too Many Bad Habits

    Best Album Notes

    Various Artists - Alpine Dreaming: The Helvetia Records Story, 1920-1924 (James P. Leary)
    Charles A. Asbury - 4 Banjo Songs, 1891-1897: Foundational Recordings Of America’s Iconic Instrument (Richard Martin & Ted Olson)
    Sonny Clark Trio - The 1960 Time Sessions (Ben Ratliff)
    Various Artists - The Product Of Our Souls: The Sound And Sway Of James Reese Europe's Society Orchestra (David Gilbert)
    Bob Dylan - Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 (Deluxe Edition) (Amanda Petrusich)
    Various Artists - Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris (David Evans)

    Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

    Larry Klein
    Linda Perry
    Kanye West
    Pharrell Williams

    Best Music Video

    The Carters - Apes***
    Childish Gambino - This Is America
    Joyner Lucas - I’m Not Racist
    Janelle Monáe - PYNK
    Tierra Whack - MUMBO JUMBO

    Best Music Film

    Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
    Elvis Presley: The King

    0 0

    Food events in Toronto this week offer the promise of free bubble tea and Japanese souffle pancakes while the High Park Zoo gets its own beer. Two pizza shops are battling it out to create the best hangover pizza and there's lots of festive goodies to look forward to.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Beach Hill Smokehouse Holiday BBQ (December 8 @ Muddy York Brewing Co.)
    Beach Hill Smokehouse is serving up a traditional Texas barbecue to warm you up alongside lots of food pairings and drinks.
    Festive Wine and Cheese (December 8 @ TOCA Restaurant)
    Holiday wines and cheeses made for the occasion are on at this pairing with seasonal and traditional picks to get you ready for tasting season.
    High Park Zoo Beer Launch (December 8 @ High Park Brewery)
    A new brew inspired by the cuties at the High Park zoo is launching with a party featuring food by Mad Mexican, drinks and beer samples.
    Jane Austen Christmas Supper (December 8 @ Montgomery's Inn)
    A traditional Christmas spread is on reminiscent of Victorian England with Turkey Galatine, Chestnuts a l'espagnole, mince tarts and other festive treats.
    Breakfast with Santa (December 8-22 @ Ripley's Aquarium of Canada)
    Have a bite with the big man himself among the fishes and a spread that includes scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast sticks and more.
    Hangover Pizza Battle (December 9 @ Village Pizza)
    We've all been there and Blondie's and Village Pizza are battling it out to create the best pizza that soaks up everything, even the regrets.
    Hip Hop Brunch and Battle (December 9 @ The Remix Lounge)
    Brunch and breakdancing comes together with tons of brunch goodies and a AUXGOD tournament with local dancers.
    Bollinger Champagne Tasting (December 11 @ CHCA Wine Lab)
    Get your bubbly on with sommelier Adrian Caravello as he discusses the particularities of Bollinger Champagne House and it's award-winning drinks.
    Holiday Cocktail Party (December 11 @ Pray Tell)
    Pray Tell is hosting a holiday party with festive themed cocktails, games and prizes with all the proceeds to
    Regent Park Multi-National Holiday Market (December 13 @ Toronto Centre for Community Learning and Development)
    Foods from over ten countries can be found at this big holiday market that includes tasting stations and a makers market.
    Hogtown Holiday Party (December 15 @ People's Pint Brewing Company)
    A gift exchange, nerdy fun and a whole lotta craft beer are all part of this holiday party at this DIY brewery.
    Caribbean Christmas Market Pop-Up (December 15 @ Ralph Thornton Community Centre)
    All kinds of traditional Caribbean goodies are on at this holiday market with food and huge local makers market with gifts and accessories.
    December Rijsttafel (December 16 @ Borrel)
    Dutch-Indonesian food and lots of it are on at this monthly feast with a rice table filled with different kinds of traditional flavours, meats and veggies.

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  • 12/07/18--08:30: The Best Dim Sum in Toronto
  • The best dim sum in Toronto showcases all sorts of offerings, from traditional to fusion, cheap to extravagant. From cheong fan to shao mai, you're spoilt for choice at each of these establishments.

    Here is where to find the best dim sum in Toronto.

    3 - Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine

    It’s basically busy here seven days a week, in fact, expect waits of over 30 minutes on weekends, even with a reservation. Still, dim sum purists will brave the atrociously long lineups for huge portions and dishes rarely found elsewhere, all at this Richmond Hill spot.
    4 - Skyview Fusion Cuisine

    Now owned by aforementioned Dragon Boat, this Woodbine Ave. restaurant isn't much different. The dim sum comes in engraved boxes, but wait times are usually shorter, plus they have an early bird special between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
    10 - Casa Imperial

    Meant to be the exclusive country club of dim sum joints, bamboo steamers of dumplings and plates of egg tarts somehow look more refined in this old converted mansion, replete with Victorian chandeliers and rococo decor. Who said dim sum can't be upscale?
    11 - Casa Deluz

    Previously Ruby Restaurant, this sprawling restaurant at Woodside Square Mall is typically packed, so make sure to get there early. One of the best things about this spot is that there's ample parking, making up for the crowds inside.
    9 - Rosewood Chinese Cuisine

    All-day dim sum is the core attraction at this high-ceilinged Chinatown spot. Head up the small flight of stairs to access their menu of essentials like chicken's feet and fried taro cakes, mixed in with some specialty treats like custard sponge cake.
    5 - Yang's Fine Chinese Cuisine

    This restaurant in Richmond Hill’s Village Gate Plaza definitely isn’t cheap, and it’s gotten its share of complaints for bad service. But if steamed egg yolk buns sounds like a dish you'd try, I highly recommend it: these guys are known for it.
    6 - Ding Tai Fung Shanghai Dim Sum

    This restaurant may be legendary for its xiaolongbao, but it fares pretty well for dim sum too. You can even order dishes like har gow and siu mai at dinner. There's two locations to hit up: First Markham Place and just off of Brimley and Huntingwood.
    7 - Yu Seafood

    You’ve never seen plates like the ones at this nicely designed restaurant on West Beaver Creek. Marrying dimsum with the charcoal craze, you'll find fun dishes like bamboo charcoal stick rice rolls and bamboo charcoal and egg yolk buns.
    8 - Crown Jewel Fine Dining

    Hit up Bamburgh Circle for a reliably good meal at this traditional banquet-style restaurant. The signature pork buns are definitely a must-try, and considering how good their har gow is, the lineups are pretty bearable.

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    After a nearly week-long hiatus, it's been announced that the BT21 pop-up store will be re-opening at last. 

    Universal Music Tweeted announced yesterday via Twitter that the store selling gear from K-pop boy band BTS and Line Friends will be back for a second go this weekend. 

    The pop-up at Scarborough Town Centre will re-open tomorrow and last until Sunday at 8 p.m., or until everything gets sold out (which could be quickly). 

    And just like opening day last Saturday, the official line up will start at 6 a.m. outside of the mall's Entrance 1. Expect hundreds of people. 

    Most megafans are rejoicing in the fact they can finally get their hands on some merch after an unbearable six days of waiting.

    But some are pretty pissed that the pop-up is only lasting two days.

    From what Universal has announced so far, there won't be a extra dates to make up for the week that the store closed down.

    Everyone's also crossing their fingers for more merch than last weekend, since the stock of CHIMMY cushions and other items seemed to have run out in a matter of minutes.

    Either way, it's pretty much guaranteed that the ARMYs will line up for hours regardless of what's in stock. Those who can't make it will just have to live vicariously through everyone else.

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    New legislation meant to make things easier for businesses to operate in Ontario is being condemned this week by environmental, labour and consumer protection groups for its potentially deadly impacts on everyday citizens.

    Bill 66, or the "Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act", scraps numerous regulations brought in by the previous Liberal government meant to protect people against everything from workplace injuries to inflated cellphone bills.

    If passed, the act would result in more than 30 regulatory changes, including the repeal of 2009's Toxics Reductions Act, 2013's Wireless Services Agreements Act, and multiple subsections of the Child Care and Early Years Act, which was created four years ago in response to a rash of baby deaths at home daycare facilities.

    "Ontario's Government for the People is taking action to create jobs by eliminating red tape and burdensome regulations so businesses can grow, create and protect good jobs," reads a press release issued by Doug Ford's PC government on Thursday.

    But at what cost?

    Environmental Defence issued a statement in response to the proposed changes yesterday, pointing out that they would not only remove protection from toxic chemicals for Ontario residents but threaten our drinking water supply.

    The Ontario Federation of Labour warns similarly that bill would relax hiring laws for construction workers at hospitals, universities, schools, municipalities and other entities deemed as "public" in the bill.

    Allowing companies to hire cheap, unregulated labourers instead of skilled unionized workers could put the safety of both workers and the public at risk.

    "By reducing safety standards to satisfy big business, the government is playing with the lives of Ontarians," says OFL President Chris Buckley. "With this Bill the government that claims to be 'for the people' is once again putting the almighty dollar ahead of the lives of Ontarians."

    And not just our lives, but our livelihoods. Changes under the bill would free employers from the burden of posting employment standards information in their workplaces and let them order employees to work excess hours without needing the Ministry of Labour's approval. 

    Increasing the number of children allowed per provider in private daycares could also prove disastrous, according to experts, 

    And remember those new rules about cellphone contracts that came into effect about five years ago? The rules that let consumers out of wireless contracts after 2 years instead of three and capped cancelation fees for a fixed-term agreement to $50?

    Yeah, that would be gone too.

    The first reading of the bill was carried yesterday, but it still has a ways to go before everything is set in stone. Concerned citizens can share their comments on the proposal with Ontario's government until a mandatory consultation period closes on January 20, 2019.

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  • 12/07/18--10:58: The top 10 bars on King West
  • King West has no shortage of bars that are busy during the week and jam-packed on weekends. The realm of DJs, models, socialites, unwinding workers and party people of all types, these places are where Toronto goes to get their bottle service, cocktails, and drunchies.

    Here are my picks for the top bars on King West.

    Petty Cash

    Cocktails served in metallic pineapples are served alongside burgers and hummus plates at this energetic spot on Portland with pool and plenty of selfie opportunities.


    Lots of pop art and neon make this place right at Bathurst as much a feast for the eyes as the belly with sangria cocktails as well as massive burgers.


    This lush, darkened environment filled with velvet and wood panelling boasts a global menu and cocktails with names like Classy AF.

    Belfast Love

    This Irish-inspired pub at King and Brant serving craft beer, cocktails, fried bar food and pizzas.

    Bar Wellington

    Located at Wellington and Portland, this is where to head in this neighbourhood for unpretentious comfort food and craft beer.

    Early Mercy

    This party spot near King and Brant may only be open Fridays and Saturdays, but on those nights the lines get super long and a late night food truck parks outside.


    Hidden inside Baro near King and Spadina, this upper level haunt boasts a sick neon sign that makes for one of Toronto’s most popular selfie spots.

    The Citizen

    General Tso cauliflower, steak frites, and taco and margarita nights make this bar at King and Brant one of the more approachable hangouts in this area.

    Love Child

    Marked by a pink door with a neon heart above it, this colourful club functions as a co-working space during the daytime.

    SPiN Toronto

    Ping pong is the name of the game at this hangout in an alleyway off King that serves up burgers, shrimp toast, giant coiled sausages and lots of beer.

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    The company behind Toronto's self-styled "mecca for the ethically minded and hungry" is apologizing this week after a customer at one of its popular vegan restaurants accidentally ingested dairy and wound up in the hospital.

    Ryerson student Vittoria Rabito, who is severely allergic to dairy products, had an anaphylactic reaction while eating a meatless pulled "pork" taco at Vegandale Brewery in Parkdale on November 9.

    Thanks to quick paramedics and the use of an EpiPen, she was taken to hospital and stabilized, but didn't find out why she'd had a reaction until the restaurant confirmed to her a few weeks later that a seasoning they'd used "may contain traces of milk."

    A manager invited Rabito back for a complimentary meal at one of Vegandale's other restaurants to compensate her for the incident, according to VICE News, in a gesture that her father later called "absolutely absurd."

    Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

    A post shared by Vegandale Brewery (@vegandalebrewery) on

    Eva Lampert, Director of Vegan Operations at The 5700 Inc. (which manages the Vegandale block of businesses) said by email on Thursday night that the event was "unfortunate and unacceptable."

    "We would like to take this time to address our customers serious and important concerns regarding allergies and dietary restrictions at our restaurants," she said. "We are sorry for what happened and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure it never does again."

    Lampert says that Vegandale has since added "additional notices for our guests on our menus" to make them aware of potential cross-contamination at the factory level.

    The company issued the following statement in response to criticism of their practices:


    Veganism is the rejection of the exploitation of animals. In our restaurants, we promote justice for animals by cooking without the use of any animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.).

    When we caution our guests that items "may contain milk," we are referring to the manufacturing of food ingredients we purchase that are produced in facilities that sometimes share equipment with items that do contain animal milk.

    Cross-contamination can become an issue for those facing allergies, but does not render items non-vegan. We look forward to the demand for vegan items improving the availability of facilities that can create our restaurant staples without cross-contamination.

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    The Ossington Laneway is one of Toronto's unsung graffiti strips.

    Not nearly as frequented as the highly touristed Graffiti Alley on Queen West, or as celebrated as the painted pillars of Underpass Park, this 200-metre stretch is still one of the best embodiments of the decorated laneways that the city is known for.

    ossington laneway toronto

    The Ossington Laneway sits just west of Ossington Ave.

    This back alley runs parallel to its namesake street, sitting just west of Ossington and book-ended by Queen St. to the south and Humbert St. to the north. 

    ossington laneway toronto

    The 200-metre alley features works from over 20 writers from Toronto and abroad.

    There's no sign demarcating it, but you can you can access the Laneway through a few entry points, including its south entrance on Queen, right next to the shoe store Gravitypope, or its north entrance on Humbert just west of Greek restaurant Mamakas

    ossington laneway toronto

    The project was commissioned by local organization Well and Good.

    More than 20 local and international writers flooded this space for five days in the summer of 2012 to transform this dreary, dirty lane into an explosion of colour and design. 

    ossington laneway toronto

    The graffiti covers the back properties of homes on Brookfield, the street over.

    Like all other graffiti-driven urban projects, the project was multi-pronged. The local arts group Well and Good wanted to beautify the area, while also bringing attention to the potential use of graffiti as a community-building art form. 

    ossington laneway toronto

    The alley is mostly a pathway for people who want to avoid Ossington while travelling north to south.

    It wasn't easy getting permission: the organization needed the go ahead from the residents living on Brookfield Street—whose properties face the laneway—to graffiti their garages and back walls. 

    ossington laneway toronto

    Over 30 properties agreed to participate in the graffiti project.

    Some refused, but about 30 homeowners agreed to it: at the end of the day, planned graffiti murals were better than the vandalistic tags that would occasionally mar their property. 

    ossington laneway toronto

    Well-known artists like Skam, Elicser, and Lovebot have work here.

    Today, the strip still remains relatively intact, though there's a share of toying that's reduced the beauty of some of these works. Chalk it up to the youth: the majority of foot traffic through this part of town are students from nearby Pope Francis and Old Orchard schools. 

    ossington laneway toronto

    The laneway is bound by Queen to the south and Humbert to the north.

    Regardless, the beautiful works of Toronto-based writers like Li-Hill, Skam, Peru, ElicserSpud, and Lovebot—just to name a few—still shine through the tags. 

    ossington laneway toronto

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    Looking for a guilt-free excuse to buy something cute for yourself this holiday season? 

    A new, first-of-its-kind clothing startup founded by two childhood friends from Toronto can make it happen in one of the best possible ways.

    The business is called "Twoque" and, while it's technically a social enterprise, it's also a place that sells hats—for you, for your loved ones, and for individuals in need.

    Here's how it works: For every toque you purchase, a second toque is donated in kind to someone who might "find themselves cold and in jeopardy of sickness during the winter months."

    For the 2018-2019 winter season, Twoque has partnered with the Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre—a multi-service charitable organization that provides free programs and services to children, youth, adults and seniors living in poverty.

    Their client base consists of newcomers, single parents, the homeless and underhoused, people lacking food and income security and community members challenged by mental and physical health problems.

    Using the "one for one business model," company co-founder Eric Saltsman says that Twoque aims to help vulnerable cities in Toronto and, eventually, all of Canada.

    "We know that, regardless of socioeconomic status, we are all subject to the chill of winter," reads the company's website.

    "As there are countless individuals who find themselves cold and in jeopardy of sickness during the winter months, we want to do our best to help out those in need by contributing to making available garments for the bitter winter months."

    You can grab a twoque for yourself (and someone in need) via the brand's new online store

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    Welcome to Saturday where events in Toronto have lots of cool stuff going on. Fan Days Holiday Show is back and there's a Taylor Swift dance party. Long Winter continues to show off the city's underground DJ scene and the Hgh Park Zoo is getting its own beer.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Black Owned Holiday Market (December 8 @ Enercare Centre, Hall C)
    Back again is this huge market with local Black-owned businesses selling a ton of goodies alongside music, performances, food and more.
    Haerts (December 8 @ The Drake Hotel)
    Take a trip with New York's electro pop duo who incorporate huge drums, soaring vocals and the occasional country twang into their sound.
    Lavender (December 8 @ Glad Day Bookshop)
    Toronto's queer community is back with a huge, inclusive holigay dance party that's $5/pwyc/no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
    The Japanese House (December 8 @ Lee's Palace)
    Beautiful, heartfelt and delicate tunes make up indie pop musician Amber Bain's The Japanese House as she herself sings of love and life.
    Swiftmas Dance Party (December 8 @ Mod Club Theatre)
    It's a T-Swift Christmas and it's time to dance it out to the best of the Red, 1989 and Reputation-era hits (and some old country stuff, too).
    Fan Days Holiday Show (December 8 @ Metro Toronto Convention Centre)
    All things comics, toys, art, collectibles and lots more are on at this huge one-day Fan Expo holiday market with a spotlight on Doctor Who.
    High Park Zoo Beer Launch (December 8 @ High Park Brewery)
    A new brew inspired by the cuties at the High Park zoo is launching with a party featuring food by Mad Mexican, drinks and beer samples.
    Long Winter (December 8 @ Polish Combatants Hall)
    Toronto's thriving underground DJ community is ready to keep you warm and dancing with a night of tunes, art, drinks and more.
    Hook (December 8 @ Revue Cinema)
    Steven Spielberg's 1991 star-studded fantasy adventure Hook is getting a screening in case you're in the mood for a little Robin Williams nostalgia.
    Pink Xmas (December 8-9 @ The 519 Community Centre)
    Come out and support local queer makers at this annual holiday art, craft, fashion and lit fair featuring over 50 LGBTQ artists.

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    The technology used decades ago by the TTC, CBC and other local businesses is obviously quite different than that we see today. These systems were massive and sluggish , almost shockingly so.

    In fact, some of the specs on the processing power of the IBM System 360 are almost archaic describing the most sophisticated model as having speed "8 MB of internal main memory...and 256 kB of main storage."

    Here are some photos of the types of technology seen in Toronto many years ago that proceeded today's modern computing.

    TTC control room

    TTC controls for Davisville and Eglinton Station, 1953/54

    Toronto Pumping Station

    Control Room, Toronto Central Pumping Station, 1960s

    Vintage Computers Toronto

    Computer room at unidentified bank, 1960s

    Vintage Computers Toronto

    Computer room at Winspear, Higgins and Stevenson chartered accountants , 1960s

    Vntage Computers Toronto

    Computer room at Winspear, Higgins and Stevenson chartered accountants, 1960s

    Vintage Computers Toronto

    CBC Control Room, 1960s

    Vintage Computers Toronto

    CBC Control Room, 1960s

    Control Room TTC

    TTC Control Room, 1967

    Control Room TTC

    TTC Control Room, 1965

    Control Room TTC

    TTC Control Room, 1965

    Control Room TTC

    TTC Control Room, 1967

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    The best boxing gym in Toronto is where to trade in your blood, sweat, and tears, for muscles and a killer jab. You’ll skip rope and spar in group classes or private sessions at these centres, which range from decades-old rings to newer gyms in the game.

    Here are the best boxing gyms in Toronto.

    8 - Kingsway Boxing Club

    All good boxing gyms should look like an auto shop from the outside, am I right? Head to this gym right by Royal York station for a session with experienced coaches in their olympic size ring.
    9 - Clancy's Boxing Academy

    Located by Eglinton and O'Connor, this massive gym is equipped with great change rooms, tons of punching bags, and two floors, with a studio and strength training equipment upstairs.
    10 - Atlas Boxing Club

    Boasting itself as the place where champions are made, this gym is the only training centre in Toronto to have trained an Olympic gold medalist. Find it just a stone's throw from Yorkdale Mall.
    7 - Stockyards Boxing and Fitness

    Find this gym inside the George Bell Arena on St. Clair West. This is a traditional gym in the sense that there are classes for aspiring boxers of all levels, plus tons of workout machinery.
    4 - Studio KO

    There’s four levels of workouts available at this box-fit gym on King West. You can even take a class in a blue light room, where you'll glow in the dark while burning out those arms.
    6 - 9Round Beaches

    Workouts here incorporate kickboxing skills for the ultimate leaning and toning regimen, with no set class times. You can show up at their Leslieville or Beaches locations any time you want for a class with nine workout stations—hence the name. Plus it only lasts 30 minutes.
    11 - West End Athletic Club

    Head to this friendly gym just off of Islington for a welcoming place to get your ass kicked. Fancier than your quintessential Mighty Mick’s kind of gym, West End AC’s facility has a foyer equipped with leather chairs and a ‘rejuvenation centre’ offering juice and espressos.
    3 - Big Hit Studios

    With multiple locations, this fitness-centric studio will get you in shape with their boxing-inspired workouts and B.O.B.’s—Body Opponent Bags. It's less about sparring here and more about workouts for overall cardio.
    5 - Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club

    Boxing gyms have long been male-dominated territory, but this gym at Dundas and Carlaw changed all that when it first opened with cis women- and trans women- only classes, along with some co-ed sessions.

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    New stores for holiday shopping in Toronto will make gift-giving easy this year. If you’re looking for unique gifts, there’s no shortage of new shops offering everything from locally-sourced hand-made clothing to tiny Japanese accessories you’ll want to keep for yourself.

    Here are my picks for the top new stores for holiday shopping in Toronto.

    Token Gift Shop

    Recently re-opened in a new location with partner Tiny Record Shop (it’s just across the street from the original location) Token Gift Shop is selling its stock of pins and beauty products for your environmentally-minded loved one.

    Sukoshi Mart at Scarborough Town Centre

    Toronto’s first Japanese convenience store has gone from one tiny shop in Kensington to a second, much larger location at STC. Find a huge selection of Sanrio goods, ankle socks and rare Japanese snacks here.


    This American luxury candy brand has finally hit the city with outposts in the Nordstroms at Eaton Centre and Yorkdale. There's also the standalone stores at First Canadian Place and Square One for the perfect gift: think boxes of of boozy gummy bears made with Dom Perignon.

    MUJI Toronto

    The flagship of this Japanese lifestyle store has re-opened at the Atrium, and it is so, so much better than it was before. The best part: the stations where you can add embroidery to your purchase, or get a photo printed on your Muji tote bag for a thoughtful, customized gift.

    Newfoundland Store

    Have any friends missing home? Or maybe just someone obsessed with East Coast culture? You’re in luck, because the owner of Craig’s Cookies has just opened up a tiny shop next door stocked with Newfoundland staples like Cream Crisps and Ricker Mercer books.


    It’s totally fine to buy a gift from the dollar store, especially if it’s from this famous Chinese dollar store brand at the Eaton Centre. There’s plenty of essentials here from pens to adorable totes and snacks that will go easy on any budget.

    Scout in Leslieville

    This classic Roncy gift store now has a new store in Leslieville. Pretty much a one-stop shop for all things festive, you’ll find a wall full of beautiful holiday cards, stockings from Wee Gallery, and precious Christmas ornaments from great brands like Xenia Taler.


    This homegrown jewelry startup finally opened its first brick and mortar earlier this year after raising $5 million. Shop handcrafted jewelery at affordable prices, with new stock coming in to their Little Italy store every Monday.

    100% Silk

    Specializing in all things hand-made, this playful shop at Queen and Dufferin stocks a fantastic selection of rare pieces from designers in Ghana, Uzbekistan, and Peru. There’s homegrown brands and beautiful ceramics too; prices range from affordable to major splurge.

    Type Books Junction

    The third location of this beloved independent bookstore, Type Books’ new Junction store has particularly good selections of design and cooking books. The store is also really pretty, so you’ll probably end up buying a book for yourself too.

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